If you’ve taken the time to read my bio you may have learned that I come from a somewhat ‘fluffy’ background. I’ve run plenty of businesses but never ventured into the corporate world, so when I came across the work of Tony Robbins and the concept of goal setting, it was quite a revelation to me!
I had always been a ‘go with the flow’ kind of a girl, thinking that Life wild take me where I needed to go and being resigned to sometimes waking up and finding I was washed up in a backwater! I found a wonderful postcard in Sedona one time that says,
“Only dead fish go with the flow”… that was me until I embraced the concept of DECIDING where I want to flow! So how do you actually DO that? I wish somebody had taken the time to show me.
It’s usually only with the arrival of another New Year that many of us may turn our attention towards the future, (none too certain these days as we watch old structures we have long taken for granted crumble and die).
But it is ALWAYS a great time to take some time to focus and set some powerful goals.
Some of us may have resorted to the old practice of making New Year’s resolutions and have given up on them by the second week in January! Did you know that 95% of people who set New Year’s resolutions never follow through? I certainly used to be one of them because I never realized how important it is.
One reason that many people don’t do it is because they don’t understand the technique of how to produce lasting results so don’t even get as far as taking the initial steps. Why we give up on ourselves is a whole other story, but one thing is fair to say, that as human beings we all desire success and prosperity in one form or another and the beginning of a new year is always an auspicious time to focus on new goals and aspirations.
But any time is a good time to set goals and create a vision for your future as long as that time is NOW!
Did you already set your goals for this year or create a Vision Board to keep you focused on your intentions and dreams? Setting goals is the single most important factor to achieving success. Without setting a ‘hot’ goal, how will you ever know when you’ve reached your definition of success?
One thing successful people have in common, (using the 7 qualities above), is that they do regularly set and appraise their goals, and these should be what we call SMART. This means that they are SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVBLE, REALISTIC and TIMELY or TANGIBLE
Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and limitations.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get fit.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout for an hour 3 days a week.”
Measurable – You must establish solid criteria for measuring your progress towards achieving each and every goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you will stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration and inspiration of each triumph which in turn will further spur you on towards the goal.
It is also a really great idea to “chunk” each goal down into bite sized, manageable portions so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of your undertaking or your mind could well begin to sabotage with thoughts of how hard and impossible your enterprise is.
Imagine yourself climbing Mount Everest but only doing it stages from Base Camp to the next and to the next, as you celebrate each victory along the way until you find yourself planting a flag at the summit and screaming with the joy of it all!
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as
How will I know when it is accomplished?
So the above example would now read, “Join a health club and workout for an hour 3 days a week, until I am able to……”
Attainable – When you identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.
You start to develop all the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin to see previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to where you want to be which also gives space for the miraculous and the unexpected to occur. You can attain almost any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.
Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image, seeing yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
A wonderful tool you can use is called ‘BE, DO, HAVE’ as you visualize yourself being, doing and having everything that you desire as if it had already come to pass, especially if you attach enough emotion to the mental picture, allowing yourself to really associate with the image as though it were the real thing, because as you my have heard, the mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and vividly imagined. So visualize away!
Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be lofty as well as being realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be, but be sure that every goal represents substantial growth and progress for you.
Surprisingly a high goal is frequently easier to reach than a lowly one because a second-rate goal inevitably exerts low motivational pressure. If you think back to some of the hardest jobs you’ve ever accomplished, they actually seemed easy just because they were a labor of love and you scarcely felt the demands.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished, even if you don’t know HOW. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or to ask yourself if anyone else has. And just because other people might not believe it’s possible does not need to define
Ask yourself too, what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal? All these questions help to actualize the goal. Another thing that will help you is if you create a big enough WHY…. i.e. the reason that it has to happen.
Ask yourself “Who will benefit?” “How will achieving this goal make me feel?” “Why must I achieve this?”
With no time frame tied to it you will lack a sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 kgs, when do you want to lose it by?
“Sometime in the future” won’t cut it. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 21st 2009” for example, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working towards that goal.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus it also becomes more attainable. As I said above, it is a commonly held belief that the mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and that which is vividly imagined, so visualize yourself in your mind’s eye as already having attained the goal.
This is what Olympic athletes frequently do. Engage all your senses as if you had already achieved your goal, making it as real as you possibly can, feeling the elation, hearing what people are saying around you or what you are saying to yourself, seeing everything in your mind’s eye with true passion.
Make it Real
Studies done years ago in Harvard measured students who had set goals as they left college against those who had not, and 20 years later found that those who had created SMART goals were not only well on their way to achieving them but in many cases had far surpassed their own expectations, while those students who had not set goals were by their own admission disappointed with their level of success.
All successful people constantly set goals, re-evaluate them and even scale them upward toward even greater achievements. Most successful people do this at least once a year and although the start of the New Year is a truly wonderful time to do this, like I say, any time is a good time .
If you’ve enjoyed reading this post please feel free to share it and leave me a comment or two.
Look out for part 2 which will help you intensify the experience and make you even more successful.